NHS nurse on coronavirus frontline reveals she’s written her will in case she dies battling Covid-19 – The Sun
A NURSE fighting on the frontline against the coronavirus pandemic has revealed that she has made a will in case she dies battling the virus.
Lucie Cocker, 31, is a junior doctor in ICU at a hospital in the East Midlands who lives with her boyfriend Adam, 28, an A&E doctor. Here, Lucie tells the truth about life in the NHS during Covid-19.
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As I got ready to leave my house for a 12-hour night shift at my local hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU), I felt my chest tighten with anxiety.
Would today be the day we ran out of beds or oxygen for the ventilators?
But by the time I arrived at the hospital, I was calm.
I had to be – I was about to have people’s lives in my hands.
I graduated as a doctor in 2014, and started working in A&E in 2016, before moving to ICU in August last year.
Since the coronavirus hit in February, we’ve been overwhelmed.
It’s unpredictable and it’s terrifying.
Every day, I change into my scrubs and personal protective equipment (PPE), which includes a gown down to my ankles, two pairs of gloves, a face mask, a visor, goggles and a cap. We are the lucky ones – we’ve been given special respirators that are deep cleaned every night.
The PPE is very hot and sweaty, and I suffer from headaches and pressure sores from the tight-fitting respirator.
I can’t even rub my face while wearing it, for fear of getting it contaminated.
But it’s a different story for other health workers.
I’ve heard of some doctors wearing expired face masks and aprons fashioned out of bin bags.
Many people have died from the virus at my hospital, though it’s usually nurses who do an amazing job caring for the patients right to the end.
Coronavirus patients have now taken over the whole ICU ward – the youngest we’ve seen was in their 40s, with no serious underlying health issues – while non-Covid-19 ICU patients have been transferred to a nearby hospital.
London hospitals have even built temporary morgues.
The level of anticipation my team and I have is off the scale, but we don’t panic.
We’ve seen how awful it’s been in London and nearby in the West Midlands, and the numbers have crept up here, too.
It seems inevitable that we’ll reach a similar level of deaths as in Italy eventually.
The news of all the nurses’ deaths have been an earth-shattering reality check.
I am a healthy 31 year old, and some of the nurses who’ve died were around my age.
It made me realise that it could be me, and I know that frightens my family.
I’ve written a will and signed a death in service benefit form to decide who’ll receive payment if I die.
I text my mum every day, and she always replies pleading with me to double-check my PPE is on properly.
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Once a patient has tested positive for Covid-19, we can’t allow visitors, as we have to protect them and staff.
It’s really tough, as people are dying without their families next to them.
At the moment, consultants will call patients’ loved ones to tell them if they’ve died, but if we get more stretched, I anticipate that I’ll also have to do this.
If staff need to take a step back, the hospital now has a Wellness Room, where we can chat to others about our feelings, which has made us stronger.
We’re all so touched by Clap For Carers, too.
I’ve been struggling with not being able to see my two grandmas, Eva, 86, who is self-isolating, and Maria, 92, who is in a care home with severe dementia and is a big worry for me.
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I have to face the awful reality that I might not see them again.
My parents Zosia, 60, and Simon, 61, are isolating, too.
The lockdown is not a scare tactic – what I’m seeing is upsetting and real.
But I’ve also experienced so much kindness from strangers.
I found flowers on my doorstep the other day with a card saying: ‘Thinking of you and I hope you’re doing OK’.
It feels like the NHS is finally being recognised.
When I get home from work, I’ll walk my 18-month-old cocker spaniel Elsa for an hour – that time is precious.
I also try to unwind by cooking.
I don’t sleep well and struggle to switch my brain off, which isn’t normal for me.
My boyfriend Adam, who is an A&E doctor, and I are like ships in the night because of the shift work we both do.
I don’t get to see him much, but it’s a comfort that we know what the other is going through.
I’m looking forward to us coming out the other side, but I predict knock-on effects from the virus.
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Fewer people are attending A&E with other health issues, and these unseen problems will catch up with us.
Mental health is a big issue already – as is domestic violence.
The worries feel endless, but I know that we’ll get through this.
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